After an unusually low fish population in Lake Erie, the past couple summers have brought copious amounts of walleye and rainbow trout back to the waters of Lake Erie. For brother’s Ben and Mick Schnekenburger, co-owners of Churchville Outfitters, this sparked a thrilling opportunity to share their passion for fishing with the public. Seeing as this duo has spent the past couple of decades fishing near the quaint village of Port Glasgow, it’s no coincidence that their thirty-foot sport fishing vessel has the appellation, “This Is Livin’”.
In 1840, the town that Ben & Mick grew up in, right smack-dab in the centre of Rodney, West Lorne, Port Glasgow, and Eagle, was home to 3 churches. During this period in time, the town was established as a German settlement, and due to the high density of churches within a small radius, it became known as Churchville. Ben still resides in his family home, making Churchville Outfitters the perfect name, as it embodies the past, present, and future for Ben and Mick.
Both brothers have acquired their captains’ licenses through Transport Canada, which allows them to charter up to 5 guests on their vessel. They welcome individuals and groups of all ages to experience this ancient practice that dates back to more than 40,000 years ago. Whether someone wants to tackle fishing for the first time, or they are a seasoned fisherman or fisherwoman, the Schnekenburgers will tailor the experience to ensure all anglers leave with a smile on their face, and fish tales to tell. Even if it’s not a top-notch day on the water, Ben and Mick want their guests to make memories and feel like they are really “livin’”.
Ben still remembers his first-time fishing, how much he loved it as a kid, and he has never forgotten the feelings he had the first time he felt a fish on the end of his line. “It doesn’t matter what age you are, it's great to watch those experiences over and over again,” says Ben. Both brothers enjoy being apart of their guests first catch, or even their 1,000th catch, they note that it's neat to be responsible for that type of smile.
The boat is fully equipped to ensure that all angler’s experiences are as stress-free as possible. The Captains do request that guests wear soft-soled shoes and that they bring their fishing licence and a cooler. Ben and Mick also encourage everyone to bring sunscreen and a positive attitude. Guests can choose either a half-day or full-day experience, six or eight hours, of both patience and excitement. Churchville Outfitters can even offer a variety of additional features, for an extra charge, for those out-of-towners that may need lodging, and those that want a bite to eat, or assistance in cleaning their fish.
Although the Schnekenburgers may have only started their business earlier this year, it’s their affable mannerisms that make their business a success. Ben and Mick’s passion for the outdoors and love of interacting with others shines through from the minute you meet them. Their immense experiences throughout the Ontario waterways, and on the vast and sometimes furious waters of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, make them a knowledgeable duo, who bask in sharing their tips, tricks, and educational stories.
Churchville Outfitters is open seven days a week and will be operating full time from May until September. Bookings can be made by calling (519) 860-0308 or emailing email@example.com. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram to see their charter guests and their catches.